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viewpoint

Safe places

| Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I’ve been going through a “master of none” period in my life, where I find myself inspired by so many things yet called to nothing in particular. I dabble in photography, writing, cooking and yoga, but seem to fall out of each practice. And as a senior, this scares me. I want to feel called to something so in the midst of crises and job searches I can focus my attention back onto what I am meant to be, but knowing what exactly that is seems to be half my struggle.

Yet having coffee with my favorite person in the world yesterday gave me some insight, as the quiet, mundane moments in life often do.

My cousin told me about how iPhones can read the future (which should come as no surprise because they can do about everything else) by using the word suggestion feature. By starting a sentence with “I” and tapping the subsequent words suggested below the text line, our prophecy appears. Of course she was joking, but we both took this half seriously.

And I took this science experiment even more seriously when my fortune read, “You were born to be a safe place for the world.” I loved that. Maybe in the midst of feeling pressured to accomplish one worldly thing — something we can measure or apply arbitrary value to — we’ve forgotten the importance of being something for the world instead of turning the world into something for us. To be a safe place for and from the world, as in someone others can find solace in and who seeks to love every bit of what’s around us, seems to me like the highest calling. Where those we love can come to when nothing seems safe, as it so often does.

The people I cherish most are those like my cousin, who named me the godmother of the child she ended up not having, and is the single most lovable, kind and strong companion to struggle into this things we call “adulthood.” My hope is that we stay safe places for one another, so that we may share all the experience and emotion that come down our paths. Ram Dass said, “We’re all just walking each other home,” and I love this idea because it speaks to the absolute accompaniment — something my mother would call unconditional love — as we protect each other wherever our paths overlap. So we may also rely on each other, and give love and light into the barren places within and around us no one wants to come across, but inevitably will at some point in life.

So as I search for meaning in my life, I know that above all I need to be a safe place for the world. To be passionate about carrying the pain and fears of others, to accept them for who the world has made them become and see imperfection as reason to love all the more. If I do nothing else after graduation, my iPhone fortune-telling prophecy tells me this is enough.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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